Boston Celtics: 3 takeaways from preseason win versus Raptors

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The Boston Celtics were winners again in their preseason matchup, this time versus the Toronto Raptors. The game was actually quite exhilarating for one that did not include starters for the final quarter.

The final score was 113-111 in favor of Boston, finished off by two Juancho Hernangomez free throws.

There were lots of great performances last night.

Jayson Tatum had a near triple-double with a 20 point, nine rebound, seven assist stat line. Al Horford had his best game back in green (I know there have only been two), with 16 points and four 3-pointers.

With Jaylen Brown out due to a positive COVID-19 test, there were plenty of interesting takeaways to be had…but let’s narrow it down to 3:

Boston Celtics takeaway No. 1) Double bigs are back?

By the end of last season, just hearing the phrase “Double big” was enough to make Boston Celtics fans nationwide physically cringe. It truly was an awful experiment that went on far too long, and only ended once Daniel Theis was moved.

In fact, in terms of net rating, the Thompson-Theis double big lineup was ranked 87th out of 191 two-man rotations the Cs ran last year. Even though Theis was moved at the deadline, and they only played 34 games together, they were 28th out of 191 lineups in minutes played.

So when it was announced that both Robert Williams and Al Horford would be starting, it was largely a cause for concern. However, we only experienced double bigs, to be frank, with lesser talent. No disrespect for Thompson and Theis, but they have fairly limited offensive arsenals, and there is virtually no way they could benefit from each other.

With Horford and Williams, they should mesh quite well, and they did in their first start together. Couple Horford’s blend of shooting and high-IQ playmaking with the Timelord’s rim running ability, and you have a legit big duo. They came out hot, with a +10 plus/minus in the first quarter alone.

Williams finished with no points, but with five rebounds and two blocks, and was a +22 on the night. Horford, on the other hand, had an amazing game with 16 points, two blocks and went 4-4 shooting from deep.

There were little to no deficiencies with these two on the court, and with the questions the Celtics have at two-guard, maybe they consider the return of the double bigs.

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